How to make a good music video on a low budget?


There are things that a high budget offer which are undeniable, plain and simple. If the money is not available you will have limitations as to the props, locations, and talent which appear on camera.

However there are other elements to a successful video and they are all within your reach:

  • creativity

  • organization

  • preparation

Be creative, think outside the box, explore the abstract. Shoot with editing in mind, use visual rhythm. Play with lines, shapes, and colors to make a story within your story. Keep things fresh by breaking the pattern, go off beat and then bring it back. Explore all that is within your reach and take advantage of it.

Be organized, plan your shoot with ample time. Make the effort to assemble all the things that could benefit your production. Keep a list of the props you intend to use, maintain a binder with records for the full production and that includes a shooting schedule with clear call times, lunch, and any break you plan to include. Have any lighting diagrams or production notes within this binder. Shooting can be extremely stressful and you should have it all well though out before you turn the camera on.

Be prepared, if you have a script I suggest you line it. This is the process of going through the script and marking it for the coverage you need. If you are not working with a script and you plan to have a more performance based music video then at the very least you can make a shot list. By making a shot list you are taking the time to sit down and genuinely thinking about the shoot. This is helpful because you create ideas for shots that could fit the song. For example when tasked with a music video I like to sit at my desk and play the song as a visualize not only the performance shots but any cool b-roll that could accompany it. I immediately star getting ideas of camera movement, the particular lens and frame rate I want for different shots and before I know it I have thirty shots written down. I am very detailed in my shot list because honestly it makes shooting that much easier so on a typical shot list I note down the location, shot type, camera angle & movement, and short description of whats happening during the shot.

Use these tips for a successful music video, even on a low budget:

Framing

Composition

Pacing

Aesthetics

Lighting

Color

Golden hour

Angles

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